‘The Pub’ #96: How to make kids’ podcasts and why you should

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Lindsay Patterson and son

Half a century after public television made children’s programming one of its core missions, public radio is finally getting into the game with kids’ podcasts like NPR’s Wow in the World, MPR/KPCC’s Brains On! and VPR’s But Why.

According to Lindsay Patterson, co-founder of the children’s podcast advocacy organization Kids Listen, there’s a reason why podcasting may be better suited than radio for children’s audio programming: the repeat button.

“If you’re a parent, you know that you are going to read that book until your kids have memorized it. You’re going to watch that movie until you can sing every single song,” Patterson told me on The Pub. “Kids love to listen to podcasts in the same way — over and over again. And they’re actually, in that way, more attentive listeners than adults.”

Patterson is also the co-host of Tumble, an independent science podcast for kids. (Side note: If you’re wondering why all the kids’ podcasts seem to be about science, listen to the show to hear me ask Patterson that very question.) She says there remains an enormous amount of room in the market for new children’s shows, and she has practical tips for producers that are drawn from extensive user surveys conducted by Kids Listen.

Also on this week’s show, the inescapable reason why all opinion journalists, myself included, end up sucking after a while. And on a related note: The Pub is looking for a new host/producer! Is that you? Check out the details and apply.

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We welcome your feedback on the show: You can reach me at adam@current.org or @aragusea on Twitter; my supervising producer at Current, Mike Janssen, is at mike@current.org; and you can contact Current generally at news@current.org or @currentpubmedia on Twitter.

If you’d like to offer a comment to be used in the program, please send on-mic tape (recorded in a studio, with a kit, a smartphone, anything) to adam@current.org either as an attachment or through Google Drive. Please keep it short!

Adam Ragusea hosts Current’s podcast The Pub and is a journalist in residence and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.

  • Mark Pugnar

    Just a brief reminder that “kids” podcasts don’t talk down to children. Some of the best media for children are great stories for everyone. Star Wars and Indiana Jones are too very successful stories that are all ages can enjoy. Please remind producers that children don’t like being “talked down” to.

    Also, thank you for not posting reruns in the feed during the time you needed to do other things. As a subscriber, I can be patient and listen to other shows while I you are on a break. Then when you are ready for a new show it will appear when you are ready.

    Thank you for your time producing this show over the almost 100 shows.

  • katiestone

    Give a listen to The Children’s Hour and hear “kids” programming for a wider audience and replicable at any local public radio station. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-childrens-hour-on-kunm/id1143143936